Think Cold Calling Is Dead? So do these fools…
Harsh? Maybe, Fair? Definitely.
On the 25th I was working with a group of 12 Sales Executives on a training course revolving around social selling, in particular LinkedIn, part of which was a session around effective written communication. This was activity that ran in parallel to their daily activity of cold calling, networking, etc etc.
At the start of the course I make it perfectly clear that the most powerful tool in any business is the humble telephone. Social activity is the icing on the cake; the activity that runs in parallel to your phone activity. Social selling switches out the initial question or conversation starter at the beginning of a cold call and moves it online instead to which your next objective should be, take the conversation off-line to pursue and qualify.
What’s the simplest objective of Social Selling?
To start conversations you can continue off line with relevant Prospects. Simple.
This led on to a discussion about how you can’t run an effective sales process using just LinkedIn or e-mail which naturally flowed into a conversation about how Sales People tend to hide behind e-mail in preference of having a real conversation.
This is in part fuelled by the deluge of inappropriate, and to a degree dangerous advice about why you shouldn’t be picking up the phone any more and why you shouldn’t be speaking to people because cold calling is dead. Total rubbish. I’m a huge advocate of social selling, but tell me cold calling is dead and I’ll tell you it’s not.
In fact, I had a perfect example of this, which I’ll share with you now, and many more besides.
To give you the background I had never heard of this company, never requested contact from them and the Sales Person in question (who I won’t be identifying) does not have a LinkedIn profile because I’ve checked. I’d have rather had a call from them so I could inform them I wasn’t interested!
What’s more this particular type of business tries to skip around the legalities of data protection and direct contact by trying to blag, yes blag; that they have an anonymous nominations process so in actual fact, when probed, hold no information on what they claim to know about my business and what they’re supposed to be awarding it for. Personally, I’d rather be recognised for exceptional work by clients. It’s free and it happens more often than not.
Suspicious Hey? Check this out…
E-mail – The Introduction – or the full pitch I’m not quite sure?!?
Interestingly enough, this person wants my business so badly they can’t be bothered to insert my name on the e-mail template they spam everyone with. Not a good start since their ‘team’ has supposedly studied my company but can’t come up with the name of the 1 Decision Maker in it. Which staggers me since my name is in both my e-mail address and company name!
In addition to the e-mail being far too long, it is used to provide all of the information that I supposedly need to make this spending decision. Despite the fact it was never asked for. It doesn’t even finish with a question so I hope the sender is not sat waiting around for me to respond because they’ve got more chance of p***ing pineapples!
E-mail 2 – The creative approach 7 days later
That’s right, a copy and paste of the original e-mail with the words ‘Did you receive my previous e-mail’ tactfully added to the top.
Mesmerising creativity there. Someone should recognise officially just how much effort went into that! An e-mail that is quick and easy to read is quick and easy to respond too – less is more. Remember that and it will serve you well.
E-mail 3 – 7 Days Later – Hang on a minute… That’s an exact copy of e-mail 2 with no changes whatsoever????
Interestingly enough, on my course on the 25th, I bet the attendees that within 7 days I’d receive yet another e-mail from this person. I only had to wait 3 days. Yay me.
E-mail 4 – I’ve reached my limits that I’m prepared to go to with you, you should call me if you’re interested.
And there it is, an entire month wasted by an ineffective Sales Person who clearly doesn’t believe the phone is the most powerful tool in their business. Either that or they don’t have a phone at all because this Sales Person seems to have disregarded its use completely!
Oh dear Sales Person, you could save so, so much time and effort if you just worked smarter and stopped hiding behind e-mail and LinkedIn, framing it as ‘social selling’ or whatever other excuse you might have for behaving in this way. Please, for me, try picking up the phone in February (I know it can be heavy sometimes), rather than relentlessly spamming me with the same message over and over while expecting a different (or any) result.
At the point of contacting me I wasn’t even an unqualified lead so why you felt it necessary to inform me of all of your products and offerings I just don’t know.
The only reason I kept the mails was to use as examples of people who completely miss the point of a blended sales process, discount the most powerful aspect of it and then go on to give us Sales Professionals a bad name. What’s more you can’t unsubscribe from these e-mails in the traditional way, i.e by clicking a link, which makes you question the ethics of companies who use lazy and unscrupulous practices to try and scape customers together.
I have a library of examples like this but simply don’t have the time or will to share more – I’m not out to name and shame, educating is more my thing. Interestingly enough, a lot of individuals and businesses that say cold calling doesn’t work haven’t even embraced it themselves. There’s just skill gaps in their business that they’ve failed to fill.
You cannot run a sales process over e-mail. Well you can try, but it won’t work very well and you’ll be perceived like this Sales Person has been. Lazy, Ineffective & Annoying.
Do you want that in your business?